The 50 Best and Worst Bobbleheads in Sports

Asher ChanceySenior Analyst IMay 30, 2011

The 50 Best and Worst Bobbleheads in Sports

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    Bobbleheads have become an indelible part of American sports culture and a ubiquitous feature in the ranks of game-day giveaways.

    These little pieces of sports-centered Americana can be lots of fun, and some of these pieces are classics, like the 1960 Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays bobbleheads, the original player-specific heads.

    Of course, some bobbleheads can be disasters, either because they bear little resemblance to the players they purport to be, or because they are cartoonish enough to almost be offensive.

    Here are some of the best and worst bobbleheads in sports.

50. Shane Battier, Houston Rockets

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    Yeah, that might be Shane Battier, if he was 20 years older.  And what's with the dirt specs around his mouth.  Is that supposed to be facial hair?

49. Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers

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    Here we have a very good bobblehead.  It looks somewhat like the real Brett Favre, and his body is in a very realistic quarterback pose.

    It would be more accurate, of course, if he was throwing across his body, and there was an opposing player waiting for the ball, but it is still very good.


48. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles

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    ...this hilarious rendition of Donovan McNabb, late of the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Is that what McNabb looks like?  Is that how a quarterback throws a ball?

47. Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird

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    Here we have a perfect contrast between two bobbleheads:

    On the left, we have a very lifelike Larry BIrd, while on the right we have something that someone has stuck Dirk Nowitski's name on, but which bears little resemblance.

    This contrast is a perfect proxy for the insistence of basketball commentators upon comparing Nowitzki to Bird just because they were both white, when in fact their games do little to mimic one another.

46a. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

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    Another very good bobblehead physically, though the head looks nothing like Peyton Manning.

    Something just is not right about that head.

46b. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

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    Yes, there it is.  The head needed to be much bigger to really be Peyton Manning.

45. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners

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    Yes, he has a goatee.  Yes, he is doing the Ichiro straight-arm-sleeve adjustment.

    But at the end of the day, is this guy Japanese?

44. Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    This one definitely falls into the attempted-realism category of bobbleheads.  Which is great, but...

    Jonathan Broxton is a burly guy.  This could be Justin Verlander, Trevor Hoffman or even Tim McGraw.

    But this ain't Broxton.

43a. Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles

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43b. Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles

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    Lots of fun.  A very nice celebration of the career of Cal Ripken, Jr.

    And I guess those look like him.

42. Roger Clemens, New York Yankees

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    Not quite sure this bobblehead looks like anybody.  He does seem to be wearing spray-on tan, though.

41. Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox

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    Question: What do you do with a bunch of Adrian Beltre bobbleheads after he moves on to the Rangers?

    Answer: Stamp Carl Crawford's name on them, and drop'em like they're hot.

40. Ken Griffey, Jr., Cincinnati Reds

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    Yes, the guy on the right is quite clearly Mark McGwire.  Either that or Mark Summers from Nickelodeon's Double Dare, but I digress.

    But the guy on the left does not look like KGJ, and between his eyes and his lips, the one on the left is quite nearly offensive.

39. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Chicago Cubs

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    Hey look, fellow Cubs fans: a decade's worth of misery in one, tandem bobblehead.

38. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Oh man, where to begin.

    First, Ryan Howard is 6'4", while Jimmy Rollins is 5'8", but they appear here to be the same height.

    Second, that kind of looks like J-Roll, but who the hell is that on the right?  It ain't Howard.  Looks more like Roberto Clemente, or maybe Ben Vereen, than anything close to Howard.

37. Kent Hrbek and Ron Gant

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    OK, so this is one of the most amazing bobbleheads of all time, memoralizing the moment in Game 2 of the 1991 World Series when Kent Hrbek wrestled Ron Gant off of first base in full view of the first-base umpire, who flat out missed it.

    Also cool: the bobblehead is crafted from the perspective of the umpire, as opposed to from the outfield camera, where the television audience saw it.

36. Eric Gagne, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Do not get me wrong: Eric Gagne had a bit of a train-wreck persona with his goatee, his crazy goggle-glasses, and his wild hair.

    But this bobblehead is a train wreck, and it has nothing to do with Gagne's self-promoted persona.

35. Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers

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    On the one hand, this one is awesome: great effort, inventive and fun.

    On the other hand, it is an almost cartoonish semblance of a diving play at third base, with Brandon Inge laid out parallel to the ground, but he is effortlessly ladling the ball.

    Ah, it is nothing but fun.

34. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

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    First of all, this looks nothing like Allen Iverson.  In the face he looks more like Tupac Shakur than Allen Iverson.

    Second of all, why is he wearing patent-leather dress shoes?

    Third of all, is that a gold basketball?

    Love it.

33. Jackie Robinson, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    A neat bobblehead, to be sure.  Does not look anything like Jackie Robinson, but who are we to quibble?

32. Kenny Powers, East Bound and Down

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    Hilariously lifelike.  And it talks!

31a. LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    This bobblehead looks exactly like a former NBA player, we just cannot put our finger on it.

    We know for sure, though, that the player we're thinking of it not LeBron James.

31b. LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    Uh, that's closer.  I guess.

31c. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Yes, that one.  The one in the Cavaliers jersey.  That one looks right.

30. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

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    A strange-but-good bobblehead.

    The beard is a bit odd.

    The eyes are a bit blue.

    Otherwise this looks just like Cliff Lee.

29. World B. Free, Philadelphia 76ers

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    A World B. Free bobblehead.  Awesome!

    Do not be thrown by the fact that his head looks like an old man.  World B. Free did, too.

28. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

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    Adam Jones is one of the elite defensive center fielders in baseball, and to commemorate Jones' greatness, this Bobblehead shows him deftly blowing a bubble as he jumps over the fence to rob an opposing batter of a home run.

27. Manager, Kansas City Royals

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    Not sure who this is, but it is awesome.  Great effort, great execution.

26. Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins

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25. Rodney McCray, Vancouver Canadians

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    In a 1991 minor-league game, Rodney McCray famously crashed through an outfield wall in what was then Civic Stadium in Portland, Oregon.

    This is a great bobblehead whose lack of realism you need to ignore.  As in, the fence did not bust before Rodney McCray crashed through it.  Nevertheless, an awesome play to make a bobblehead out of, and a truly original bobblehead overall.

24. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

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    This is how one does a bobblehead: a fun player, a realistic pose and a true-to-life head.

23. Ike Davis, Brooklyn Cyclones

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    Not sure this looks like Ike Davis.

    Not sure the head bobbles.

    Not sure I care about either point.

    Excellent bobble head.

22. Andy Pettitte? Mike Mussina? Either?

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    Whoever took this picture posed an Andy Pettitte bobblehead with what appears to be Mike Mussina-themed "Moose" candy bars.

    Oddly, this bobblehead does not look like Pettitte or Mussina, or any other Yankee that comes to mind.

21. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles

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    A good bobblehead, but not a great one.

    It clearly under-represents Andy Reid's, ahem, assets.

20. Rex Ryan, New York Jets

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    A very realistic, accurate, and colorful bobblehead.

    That does not mean we have to like it, does it?

19. Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles

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    Unfortunately, this is a low-res photo of an Orioles' promotional bobblehead of Buck Showalter that looks exactly like him, in a typical stance that he strikes in the dugout, wearing a grimace he is sure to be wearing all season.

18. Carlos Lee, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Carlos Lee?  Really?

    This guy is clearly white.  And maybe even italian, or something.

17. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

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    Yes, yes.  Very nice.  Now shut up already.

16. Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Yes.  Awesome.

15. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

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    A lovely bobblehead for an unfortunate player.

    Would be more realistic if it was much wider around the middle and you had to spend 10 times what it is worth to buy it.

14. Tiger Woods, Golf

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    A very nice collection of bobbleheads commemorating the significant moments in Tiger Woods' career.

    This collection takes an interesting turn once you stop worrying about making it family friendly. 

13. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs

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    Look at this bobblehead.  Look at the face.  Look closely.

    Do you see it?

    This bobble head is clearly, clearly, Roger Clemens painted brown.

    No way around it.

    And may I say: Yikes. 

12. Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants

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    OK, I think there is subtlety here that may or may not have been intended.

    Check out how Barry Bonds' batting helmet sits on top of his head rather than around it.  Is this a reference to the size of his head.

    At the same time, though, the only way you know this is Bonds is by the name on the base of bobblehead.  This chubby, smiling guy bears no resemblance to Bonds.

11. Sir Barton, First Triple-Crown Winner

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    A bobblehead race horse?

    Uh, OK.

10. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

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    Wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...

    Doesn't this bobblehead look a little more like Johnny Damon than Derek Jeter?

9. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    How could the Miami Heat bobblehead people have struggled so mightily and then nailed Dwyane Wade?

8. Ricky Vaughn, Cleveland Indians

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    "Wild Thing" from the move Major League!


7. Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    One of the original four bobbleheads to feature actual player faces, from 1960.

6. Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants

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    One of the original four bobbleheads to feature actual player faces, from 1960.

5. Roger Maris, New York Yankees

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    One of the original four bobbleheads to feature actual player faces, from 1960.

4. Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees

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    One of the original four bobbleheads to feature actual player faces, from 1960.

3. Rickey Henderson, Modesto A's

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    Perfect.  A-plus.  Clearly a 10.

    If you asked Rickey Henderson, he would tell you that this bobblehead is the greatest.

2. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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    Yikes.  Is not built like him, does not look like him.

    Bobblehead fail.

1. Willie Mays, The Catch

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    Now this is a great bobblehead.  

    Looks like Mays, accurately replicates the old-style look of the 1950s, and memorializes "The Catch," one of the greatest plays in baseball history.

    This list is by no means exclusive, by the way.  

    Post in the comments section below the best and worst bobbleheads you have ever seen, and include links if you have them!